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    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.


    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.


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By Theresa Owusu Ako

I don’t know why it was called “Gala Dinner” but one researcher was so excited about it and kept   reminding this writer and fellow journalist from Ghana not to miss it. Out of curiosity we decided to make time for the ‘gala dinner’ and it was worth it.
It was a night to remember. It was the Gala Dinner to mark the 10th INDEPTH Network Anniversary and the 8th AGM held at the White Sands Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It was a gathering of about 200 scientists both young and old as well as funders.

Day  one  passed  successfully  with  its loaded  programme  and  a  cocktail  or “turkey tail” in the evening. All the while my  friend  and  I  were  struggling  to  file our  stories  to  our  newsrooms  in  Accra but  the  internet  was  very  slow  and frustrating,  preventing  us  from  joining the  group  as  early  as  we  would  have wished.  All  the  same,  when  we  finally joined them, it dawned on us just how journalists and scientists are still trying to  become  ‘friends’.  We  were  at  the meeting  as  representatives  of  the African  Media  and  Malaria  Research N e t w o r k   ( A M M R E N )   w h i c h   w a s   established  two  years,  to  spearhead such  noble  efforts.  It  was  however glaring at the meeting that “friendship” between  the  two  groups  will  be  a gradual  process  as  granting  interviews to  journalists  is  still  a  frightening experience for many of the scientists.

Day two also passed and paved way for the  General  Assembly  and  election  of officers to steer the affairs of INDEPTH Network for the next two years. This saw the  re-election  of  the  Director  of  the Kintampo  Research  Centre,  Dr.  Seth Owusu Adjei as Board Chair. Then  came  the  night  of  celebration  – what  my  friend  described  earlier  as ‘Gala  Dinner’  –  I’m  still  not  sure  if  he meant anniversary dinner.

I can’t tell exactly when the gala dinner started because my colleague and I got to the venue late. To add a local touch, the entrance to the Hotel, the venue for the dinner, was lined up with local lamps popularly  called  ‘osono’  in  Ghana, mounted on stands. This reminded me of an ‘osono’ presence in the house of one Professor for a similar occasion.  But the ‘osono’ at the Professor’s house had a purpose; to drive away mosquitoes as they  were  strategically  placed  at vantage points. The atmosphere was so serene and the set-up was perfect with the guests seated by a swimming pool.  The live band in attendance also lived up to expectation playing cool music while food was served. Indeed it was a night to remember  as  the  guests  feted  and exchanged pleasantries.
When the local dancers took their turn, the  atmosphere  became  electrified.  A Ugandan  researcher  on  our  table described  the  sound  of  their  drums  as gong  gong  beating.  They  danced  as  usual for some time in their “territory” and  later  decided  to  mingle  and  invite guests,  particularly  whites  for  a  dance and some dollars.

Honestly I didn’t see when a snake man came in. I was busy  sipping  a  bottle  of  coke  accompanied with some snacks. I saw people leaving their   seats  and  others  stretching  their necks  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  guests dancing. Suddenly I heard shouts and a splash!  Boom!  What  was  that  about? Apparently  the  local  dancers  had  been displaying a huge live Python around the necks of some unsuspecting guests for a  photo  opportunity. 

But  this  was  too  much for a guest. He was so scared that he jumped into the swimming pool with his  ‘party  regalia’  without  waiting  for the  ‘commander’  of  the  snake  to remove  it  from  his  neck.  I  don’t  know what would have happened if he didn’t know how to swim or if he had run amok  into the sea which was nearby. It was as frightening  as     much  it  was  funny.  An African  guest  could  not  help  but comment, ‘Eh! In Africa if you know you come  from  a  difficult  home  you  don’t joke with such things.  

Then   I   remembered  my  friend’s  earlier insistence  that  we  should  attend  the  ‘gala  dinner’.  This  was  indeed  a  night those present will not easily forget - the In-depth 10th anniversary Gala Dinner.

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